Mani Ratnam’s Ponniyin Selvan: Part 2 is a film that beautifully captures the heart of Kalki Krishnamurthy’s novel. With this film, Mani Ratnam delves deep into the ill-fated romance between crown prince Aaditha Karikalan and Nandhini, played by Vikram and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, respectively.
The film begins with a prelude that showcases the blossoming of love between the prince and the orphan girl. The director manages to convey the emotions without the need for lengthy dialogues, and the heartache of their separation leaves a lasting impact on the viewers.
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Ponniyin Selvan: Part 2 Movie Review – A Tale of Love and Politics
The film sustains the tension with this doomed romance, driving the characters to make decisions that have far-reaching consequences. The mystery around Nandhini’s lineage drives Princess Kundhavai’s actions, and the young prince Arulmozhi Varman fends off the Pandiya rebels, who have sworn to kill Karikalan. Until the intermission, the film proceeds like a swashbuckler, with thrilling action sequences and heartwarming moments.
Music by: A. R. Rahman
Distributed by: Red Giant Movies
Budget: 500 crore
Production companies: Madras Talkies; Lyca Productions
The latter half of the film is more concerned with the fate of Karikalan, and the much-anticipated moment between Karikalan and Nandhini is filmed with so much dread and pain that we forget about the rest of the characters for a brief while. Vikram and Aishwarya’s performances are terrific in these portions, adding to the vulnerability of their characters.
The climactic portions of the film are hugely impacted by the emotional high, and the events that follow a major character’s death cannot match the suspense and drama of the narrative held until then. The film ends on a low-key note, with one too many twists, but the writers give us a more agreeable twist.
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What sets this film apart from other period epics is that Mani Ratnam hews closer to the spirit of Kalki’s novels, a fictionalised account of historical personalities, largely focused on interpersonal drama. The action might happen in a palace, but the grandeur comes mainly from the emotions of characters within its walls. The film’s grandeur is not in the visual effects, but in the emotions that the characters bring to life.
Ponniyin Selvan: Part 2 is a film that captures the essence of Kalki’s novel beautifully. Mani Ratnam’s direction is outstanding, and the performances of the actors are remarkable. The film may not have the grandeur of other period epics, but it manages to capture the essence of the characters and their emotions. This film is a must-watch for anyone who loves historical dramas and romantic stories.